One of the biggest learning I have had during my MBA is the word acceptance. In used to talk about self-acceptance before, but another side of the coin is also acceptance of others – especially those around me and those that are close to me. Why? Because of the high expectation and non-acceptance of who they are and how they behave are my constant source of frustration, disappointment, and loneliness.
For months, I have been fighting with some friends who are the complete opposite of me in terms of a sense of time, commitment, level of planning, and style of communication. I have high expectations of commitment (e.g., no change in plan whatsoever), presence (e.g., spending quality time), and deep conversations. Some of my friends are just more flexible in planning, not very comfortable opening up, and like to be socially fluid.
Does this mean we are not good friends? If the term ‘good’ is judged by similarity, then yes. However, if this is judged by how much we care for one another, I don’t think so. There were times that I thought no one cares about me. I reached out to some and there was no response or the response came back very late. However, some actions have been done to help, and I didn’t realize it.
The main point is that, while I have to learn to accept who I am to be more comfortable under my own skin, I also need to learn to accept others for who they are and do not expect as much or none at all. I guess what a lot of novelists and philosophers have said was quite true all along – when there is no expectation, there is no disappointment. Expect to not expect, and accept the reality and not the ideal.